Skeletons In The Closet: Utah’s Horror Film History

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Though Utah got its cinematic start with the westerns of John Ford, it’s no stranger to the horror genre. Our state has been the backdrop to several celluloid slashers—peruse the list … if you dare.

The Girl In Black Stockings (1957):
Girl is a noir-laced murder mystery that takes place at a swinging hotel in Kanab. The premise is a tad far-fetched—mainly because I find it hard to believe that there are any swinging hotels in Kanab.

Carnival of Souls (1962):
The Great Saltair has a tragically fascinating history, so filming a horror movie there makes sense. It was put to eerily good use in this film.

The House Of Seven Corpses (1974):
Films about haunted houses and documentarians seldom have happy endings. The Governor’s Mansion was cast as said haunted house in this mid-‘70s creeper.

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988):
Salt Lake and Midvale became the fictional town of Haddonfield for this installment of the Halloween series, making Michael Myers the first major cinematic monster to terrorize Utah.

Warlock (1989):
According to folklore, salt is really bad for warlocks. When the heroine of Warlock figures this out, she plans to hole up in the Bonneville Salt Flats and season her enemy to death.

Troll 2 (1990):
Perhaps the best worst movie to come out of Utah, Troll 2 is the unintentionally brilliant story of a boy, his family and a town full of vegetarian goblins. You can’t piss on hospitality.

The Stand (1994):
This adaptation of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic novel was filmed everywhere from Pleasant Grove to Ogden—not to mention the fact that Sam Raimi gets choked by a demon right outside of Lehi.

Joyride (2001):
Paul Walker, Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski find themselves hunted by a depraved truck driver on a road trip that takes them through Delle, Utah. Say it with me now, “Caaaandy Caaaaane … ”

Dawn of the Dead (2004):
Not entirely filmed in Utah—just a little bit in Salt Lake—Zack Snyder’s zombie flick also featured Utah resident Ty Burrell. Best. Reboot. Ever.

Frozen (2010):
Before Disney appropriated this title for their own purposes, a team of indie filmmakers used the Snowbasin Ski Resort to explore a terrifying premise: What if three skiers get stranded halfway up a lift only to spy a pack of wolves that are waiting for them to drop like ripe fruit?